Scary thrillers for summer reading

A wedding on a small island turns into a murder mystery in “The Guest List” by Lucy Foley.

In alternating points of view between the bride, a wedding guest, the best man, the wedding planner and the bridesmaid, a lush wedding preparations are underway. The groom is a handsome television star, the bride is a magazine publisher, the guests are family, friends and few connections. And the location is in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone service. What could possibly go wrong? As the wedding parties secrets are all uncovered bit by bit over the weekend, it’s leading up to the wedding of the century – and murder. Who would kill for what they know and why?

Readers will love this Agatha-Christie like story about a wedding where everyone has secrets, and everyone could be the killer. This is a real page turner.

“The Guest List” is published by William Morrow. It is $16.99.


A family is torn apart by the reality that a half sister might exist and has shown up on their doorstep in “The Half Sister” by Sandie Jones.

A DNA test site lead a young woman by the name of Jess showing up on a family’s door, claiming to be the long- lost daughter of the father who passed away last year. Daughters Kate and Lauren are now conflicted, one believing her, and the other believing she is a fraud and determined to prove it. As Jess’ intentions and background are questioned, both daughters’ lives change dramatically as they discover who their parents really were and what it means for their current lives.

There are plenty of red herrings to lead readers astray before the story gets to the big ending surprise. It is a well paced and well done story.

“The Half Sister” is published by Minotaur Books. It is $24.99.


Riley Sager is at it scaring all the readers again with “Home Before Dark.”

This time, the New York Times bestselling author tackles the haunted house story, following Maggie Holt, a young girl who, as a child, lived in a real-life haunted house. Her parents moved into Baneberry Hall, and after some unsettling occurrences, moved out in the dead of night, never to return for their things. Maggie’s father wrote a book about it that got famous, and she has lived in its shadow ever since. Now, years later, after her father’s passing, she discovers that she has inherited the very nightmare house. Now a home restorer, Maggie, who doesn’t remember anything about the time there, doesn’t believe in hauntings, and decides she’s going to fix up the house for a profit. But once she moves in, unsettling occurrences begin to happen. Does something evil lurk in the halls? Does someone from the small town not appreciate the notoriety her father’s book brought? Maggie has to find out before it is too late for her.

This spooky, surreal haunted house story goes through plenty of twists at the end. I will never hear the song, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” without being a little freaked out again. Sager has become one of my favorites for gothic stories that scare and make you think.

“Home Before Dark” is published by Dutton. It is $24.99.


Violent crime, revenge and vigilante justice is studied in “You Can Go Home Now” by Michael Elias.

Nina is a homicide detective on Long Island, who followed her career for one reason – to avenge her father’s death at the hands of an anti-abortion sniper. Using her connections, she has tracked whom she believes is the culprit and every day gets closer and closer to her revenge. But at her day job, a secretive battered woman’s shelter called Artemis, is the site of an investigation. Men who are connected to women living there are turning up dead and Nina is asked to go undercover to determine whether or not a vigilante is living among the women. Besides herself, anyway. Can one vigilante find another? Will Nina finally get her revenge?

This is a thought provoking novel that stands out in the genre with characters that will last long after the book is finished.

“You Can Go Home Now” is published by Harper. It is $27.99.


Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com.


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